“What points should I consider before buying a warranty?”

When buying goods or services the seller may tell you they are covered by a ‘guarantee’ or ‘warranty’ and you may therefore assume that you can make a claim if something goes wrong. However, it is important to know what both terms mean before you make a purchase.

What is a Guarantee? The manufacturer of goods,such as electrical items,may issue a guarantee. A company providing a service such as double-glazing or central heating, may also issue a guarantee. A guarantee is normally free and the supplier issues it at the same time that you buy the goods or service.You can ask to see a copy of a free guarantee. It should state details of who is giving the guarantee, what they are offering and how to make a claim.

What is a Warranty? A warranty is similar to a guarantee but you usually have to pay for it. Normally it will be an insurance company, rather than the supplier, that issues the warranty and you can purchase it either at the same time that you buy goods or services or at a later date. Sometimes the company will call a warranty an ‘extended guarantee’ or an‘extended warranty’. These usually last for a fixed period, commonly 5 years.  As you will normally pay for a warranty the law views it as a contractual right which can be enforced by law.

Should I always purchase a warranty if one is offered? You need to think carefully about the advantages of paying extra for a warranty. Often the salesperson offering you a warranty is on commission and may be very persuasive. Don’t feel pressurised into buying a warranty without checking the details and thinking it over.

Things to consider are:

REMEMBER Guarantees and warranties are not necessarily the same thing. Warranties may be unnecessary and expensive.